What is the Vegan Chef Challenge (VCC)?

The Vegan Chef Challenge (VCC) is a month-long event showcasing new vegan menu items created by chefs at local restaurants. Typically, ten to thirty restaurants take part and the dining public is encouraged to vote for their favorite dishes. We encourage businesses to add popular vegan items to their regular menu after the challenge concludes.

What is considered vegan?

All VCC dishes, side dishes, condiments, etc. must be vegan, free of animal products, or animal-sourced ingredients such as dairy, fish, honey, gelatin, eggs, butter, mayonnaise, sour cream, whey, etc. Be sure cooks and kitchen staff understand also understand what vegan means. Don’t worry if you’re not sure about something—we’re here to help! Call, email, text, or message us on social media and we’ll answer your vegan questions.

What am I expected to provide to diners?

We ask that you have a clear vegan menu that is offered to every diner, regardless if they ask for the menu or not. Be sure your waitstaff and dining room hosts are aware of your participation in the Vegan Chef Challenge and are briefed on the vegan menu and specials. Some restaurants update their regular menus to add a vegan section or to highlight the vegan options. Most restaurants add a separate menu they provide to their customers, we provide you a neat template to use!

What will you provide for my business?

We’ll be working hard to promote your business. The more customers you get, the happier we are! We’ll be paying for social media advertisements (at no extra cost to you), contacting media outlets, providing flyers/posters, and offering informative table tents at every participating business. We can also provide you with “Ask me about VCC” buttons for your waitstaff! All of this is included in the registration fee.

Do dishes have to be organic, non GMO or gluten-free?

Vegan dishes are not required to be organic, non-GMO or gluten-free. There is also no requirement for menu items to be oil-free, low-fat, low-sodium, raw or “whole foods plant-based.” Vegans love french fries and ice cream!

Do I have to use separate fryers to cook vegan food?

A separate or dedicated fryer is not required as long as plant oil is used for frying. Separate cooking and preparation surfaces such as grills and countertops are not required. However, please be sure areas are cleaned prior to the preparation of vegan items. Do not prep vegan items using the same cutting boards on which animal products have been prepared. Many customers choosing your new vegan dishes won’t be vegan themselves. But when vegans do order, they might ask about this and it’s helpful for your waitstaff to be prepped.

Do I have to use vegan meat substitutes?

We encourage vegan meats because both vegans and non-vegans will order them! They’re fun, satisfying, and easy. However, you don’t have to rely on vegan meats for any of your dishes. Many of the past award-winning dishes do not use any vegan meat or cheese products. Vegan lasagna made with Impossible beef is just as likely to win as penne pasta with spring vegetables and homemade vegan pesto!

Whether you use Beyond Beef, tofu, or beans, adding protein to your dish will increase its value. Protein foods are satiating and will leave your diners anxious to come back for your filling dishes!

How will diners vote for my dishes?

We’ve added QR codes to the table tents we’ll be making for you. These codes take your customers directly to the voting and review links. We’ll also promote the links via social media. Remember—your wait staff can promote the voting links and ask for votes as much as they want!

When will the challenge winners be announced?

Challenge winners will be announced via social media weeks after the last day of the challenge.